Tips for Finding the Right Writers Group for You
Writers need writers! We need to share our ideas over our hot cup of coffee or tea. What do we do when we do not have the help and support of other writers? Where can we find a good writers group?
When I moved, I had to leave my old writers group. It was difficult for me because I trusted them with my poorly written articles. I could trust them to be gentle with me as I was with them.
We not only drooled over each others’ words, but we shared personal journeys as well. We became a writing family.
A writers group is so much more than sharing ideas and critiquing each other’s work. A close writers group is where a writer and author can engage in honest critical feedback. A writers group is a source of support and encouragement. Every writer knows that in the beginning of his or her writing journey, there are more rejections than acceptances. We need like-minded people to hold us up when we have been rejected over and over, as well as, rejoice with us when we’ve sold an article or even signed a book contract.
I lack this connection. I lack the help of other writers, but more importantly, I miss the support and friendship of other writers. When we join forces with other writers, we talk a language that no one else can understand. We talk plots, stories, punctuation, spelling, grammar, characters, rhymes, publishers, editors and research.
Will any ‘ole group do?
Should we join any ‘ole writers group?
Should we be picky?
Are all writers groups the same?
I began the hunt for my perfect group. Being so new to this very small town, I searched and searched until I finally found one. It was a mixed age of female writers who meet right at the library in town and the time slot was perfect.
However, when I went to the first meeting, I found out that I had to apply on line and submit some writing samples. They would vote as a group if I was to be accepted or not. There were annual dues to pay as well. Because I was desperate, I followed their instructions. I hurried home, submitted two of my previously published articles, only to have a rejection in my “in” box the next day. I was not accepted into their group. I was crushed.
This experience made me take a step back and really think about what I was looking for in a writers group. Did I just want a group of warm bodies or did I want more than that?
Ideas for when looking for a writers group.
How can we find a writers group that’s going to meet our needs? While continuing my search of that perfect writers group, I spent some time pondering what I needed and wanted. Here are some of my ideas:
• If you are a mystery writer, joining a research writers group is not a fit.
• If you are a non-fiction writer, joining a romance writers group is not a fit.
• If you are a poetry writer, a science fiction writers group would not work.
• Do you want to pay dues? Some groups charge.
• Do you want to be interviewed to join? Some have a certain criteria in order to join.
• Do you want men and women present?
• Do you want to be with young or old writers or a variety of age?
I was so excited to be with warm bodies that I thought they shared the same drive to write. I was wrong. You see, I have been commissioned to write to encourage people. This group was a local, liberal, female, historical writers group. I am sure they are a wonderful group of ladies and have written some fabulous material; but the door was shut and not only shut by them but by God as well.
So, I got to thinking, maybe I should start my own group?
When a writers group does not fit and you are tired of searching, have you considered starting your own group?
Where would you begin? Here again are some of my tips to consider.
• Try to advertise. Put flyers around town or a short ad in the local paper. You also, can post on social media including Craig’s List. Maybe you can put up flyers at your church if you want a Christian writers group?
• Where to meet? Why not at a local coffee shop? Local coffee shops love your business and are usually pretty open to having your group use their facility. Maybe you can try your church? I’ve worked in a library for years that hosted writers groups, so why not contact your local public library?
• Goals: Don’t forget to write the goals of the group you want to start. My perfect group would consist of Christian and or spiritual authors that would want to meet one day a week for an hour or two. In my perfect group, I would not charge any dues but would set guidelines. My guidelines would be simple. Do not steal the ideas of other members and be kind in criticizing.
Right now, I continue to write from my little counter-top and continue to search for writers groups. I am praying about starting my own as well. I am not sure of the direction I will go, but one thing I do know, the local, liberal warm body group was not a fit for me.
How about you? Do you belong to a writers group? If so, did you have any expectations? Hope over to Edie Melson’s Blog:firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve like to tweet your response or read how other’s have commented.